Prepare now for hurricane season

Thursday is the official start of hurricane season in the central Pacific region, which includes Hawaii. We have just one suggestion: Be ready, because they are coming. The old adage better safe than sorry certainly works here.

The worst things you can do are assume Kauai will not be hit by a hurricane and not prepare. Yes, you are right that chances are a hurricane will not make landfall here. But, as history has shown — an example being Hurricane Iniki in 1992 that was initially expected to pass by but changed direction — hurricanes are unpredictable.

If you won’t listen to us, listen to Elton Ushio, Kauai Emergency Management Agency administrator:

“With the hurricane season on the horizon, it is important for the public to plan and prepare for hurricanes now, and not just wait until a storm threatens the state. Every family should have their own disaster preparedness plan and take the time to practice it.”

According to the National Weather Service, this year’s outlook calls for five to eight tropical cyclones, with a 40 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.

An average season has four or five storms, which includes tropical depressions, tropical storms as well as hurricanes.

Disaster kits should include at least a 14-day supply of non-perishable food, four quarts of bottled water per person per day, a battery-powered radio, flashlight, an extra supply of prescription medicines and other items specific to individual and family needs.

A natural hazard preparedness workshop is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. June 8 at the Hanapepe Public Library.

Among the topics that will be covered are hurricane science and prediction for 2017, home strengthening and personal preparedness. If you have time, it’s a good idea to attend this workshop and, as Ushio says, minimize risks before disaster happens.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center monitors weather conditions, employing a network of satellites, land- and ocean-based sensors and aircraft reconnaissance missions operated by NOAA and its partners.

Some basic about hurricane information:

w The CPHC issues a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Watch when a hurricane or tropical storm-force winds are possible within 48 hours.

w A Hurricane or Tropical Storm Warning is issued when a hurricane or tropical storm-force winds are expected to strike within 36 hours.

w When either a watch or a warning is issued, residents and visitors should listen to their local radio or TV stations and monitor local web/internet media and websites for official weather information and instructions from emergency management entities. The Garden Island website will be updated frequently with the latest hurricane information as it becomes available.

The county is a good source as well. Information is offered on planning and preparation regarding hurricane season.

To sign up for the county’s free emergency notification service, Connect CTY, go to the county website, www.kauai.gov. Have phone number and other pertinent information added to the county database by calling the Kauai Emergency Management Agency at 241-1800.

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